31st December 2013 – A Review Of My Resolutions

I’ve copied by blog post from the first of January this year and through it might be a good idea to review what I have and haven’t done and use this to form part of my resolutions and goals for 2014.

The first day of the year always offers us a chance for a fresh start, to refocus our goals and plans. I’ve previously outlined my resolutions for this year but today I want to outline my personal ‘goals’.

Most people have a weight loss goal for the new year and I’m no different, unfortunately this is a roll over from 2012 but I am determined to reach my goal this year – and my reward? Being able to fit into the clothes in my wardrobe! I cannot wait – I have some super cute clothes and I want to be able to wear them. So the goal is to lose 20kgs.

Well for those of you who have followed my journey this year I have well and truly gone past the 20kg goal and even reached 30kgs!

Goal for 2014 – 40kgs!

My next goal is to do with photography – I’m actually quite a poor photographer [I particularly suck at selfies] and part of my new role at TTR is to take photos of the race days and my failings were highlighted when I uploaded the photos. Yes, some of this was a learning curve about what images to capture but also about how to capture great shots, so this year I want to learn how to take better photos, and ideally I would like to upgrade my camera too. The second part of this goal is about photos of me. I am not photogenic and usually hate photos taken of me, however I want to at least occasionally have some nice photos so my other goal is to learn how to be photographed.

Whilst I did do a bit of research about what photography courses there are, I didn’t actually do any classes!

Goal for 2014 – complete at least one class.

My third goal is a new car – the one I drive at the moment, to put it politely, is a piece of shit! It’s reliable [thankfully] but it’s as old as dial up internet, and I’m embarrassed to be seen in it! Hopefully I can get some savings under my belt this year to upgrade.

No new car in 2013, other priorities. Let’s see what 2014 brings.

My fourth goal is to launch a little sideline project I have bubbling away. I don’t want to say too much about it just yet, but as soon as it’s ready to go I’ll let you know.

This little project is on hold at present while I work on a potentially huge project connected to work.

My final goal for 2013 is to maintain and build this blog. I’d like to find a real rhythm this year and offer something new and fresh for the year, but for now, I wish you all a very Happy New Year, and hope you have a wonderful 2013 full of achieved resolutions and goals that have been reached.

The blog was going really well earlier in 2013, but I have to admit that the latter half of the year it has slipped, however now we are in a new house, work is under control (mostly), and life is settling down I feel like I have the time and the motivation to kick it up a gear in 2014.

Can we stop using the phrase ‘cheat meal’?

Cheat Meal

I know this phrase has been used for a long time, years in some cases, however as I believe words have a powerful impact on our psyche and that using it in relation to diet/lifestyle when many us currently have, or have had, an unhealthy relationship with food is detrimental to the process of developing a long-term, healthy association with what we eat.

The connotation is that choosing to eat something that is outside your day-to-day diet (and by diet I mean the food you eat, not a fad) you are doing something ‘bad’ which, no matter how much of a conscious decision you think you made to eat that food, by linking cheat to it will inevitably cause guilt, whether consciously or sub-consciously and that does not create a positive experience or association.

Many struggling with eating disorders, whether mild or extreme, whether over-eating or under-eating suffer from a negative association with food, and whilst the use of the phrase ‘cheat meal’ is done with innocent intent, it does create a connection within our brain that is not positive and therefore continues that negative association with food.

Should we use words like treat, indulge, reward instead? Definitely not. These are just as damaging. The saying ‘Don’t reward yourself with food, you’re not a dog’ comes to mind. Many of us were brought up with the use of food as a reward – eat your dinner and you can have dessert, sit up straight for the hairdresser and get a lollipop, be good when visiting and you can have can have an ice cream on the way home – all of these things create a negative association with food, despite the intention to associate it with positive actions. Rewards, for children especially, should not be associated with food.

So if we shouldn’t use a negative word or a positive word what should we use? I guess it really depends on your definition of what a so-called ‘cheat meal’ is. For a clean eater it might be having a meal that has processed food in it, for calorie counters it might be eating above your recommended daily calorie intake level, for IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) eaters it might be blowing one of the macros – which if one group looked at the other they may not even consider that a ‘cheat’. As a clean eater, if I chose to eat a cupcake, a IIFYM eater wouldn’t consider that a cheat if I was in my daily allowance, if a calorie counter chose to eat all their calories in chocolate they wouldn’t consider that ‘cheating’ but both the clean and IIFYM eaters would.

I had thought Outside Normal Lifestyle (ONL), but then the use of the word normal does have connotations of this meal being abnormal, a negative association. Perhaps Outside Lifestyle (OL) is as close as we should get to naming it. If you are truly living this lifestyle, these OL occasions will be very rare indeed and therefore I understand the need to acknowledge them in some form.

How Often?

In terms of lifestyle this meal is often associated with calorie counters, and is usually eating a meal that is way higher in calories than their daily limit. I have a real problem with this when that ‘cheat meal’ is on a weekly basis. For a start I don’t think it allows your body enough time to get used to a new lifestyle, particularly if you are new to the change to the way you relate to food – let’s face it, most people have spent years eating unhealthy food which our bodies can easily become addicted to, so why would you keep reminding it of what, in order to live a healthier life, you have chosen not to eat? How can you make a clean start if you keep going back to bad habits? Additionally, you are mentally setting yourself up to fail because you then see the ‘lifestyle’ as the bad guy, and the cheat meal as your reward for persevering through the week, especially as most people do choose to ‘cheat’ on the weekend – which is actually the worst time to do it, and when all the work you have put in during the week to adjust to your new lifestyle is undone. This isn’t at all healthy mentally or physically.

If this is a real change to your relationship with food, to the way you eat, and kinds of foods you consume, if it really is your lifestyle, then these meals shouldn’t even be ‘planned’ until you are fully in control of the new lifestyle, and I would recommend not even thinking about have an Outside Lifestyle meal until at least three months into the process. Give your body plenty of time to adjust to your new healthy relationship with food, to detox from potentially toxic foods such as sugar, (if that’s part of your new lifestyle), give your taste buds time to adjust. Then, if you feel you must, choose one food, not a whole meal, and eat it. Making sure you are giving your body a decent chance to give you feedback too – don’t do it when you have starving, or when you are rushed. Go into the situation with a satisfied stomach and plenty of time. Really taste the food, savour each mouthful, and make a mental note of how you feel. Also make a mental note of how you feel afterwards. For me, my first foray back into my old lifestyle was a packet of potato chips which I couldn’t even finish because they were so salty, and left me with a oily film in my mouth. Gross! I can’t say I’m completely free of my love of potato chips but I am certainly not rushing out to buy another packet!

I also think if you ‘plan’ these occasions in terms of choosing to eat OL because of your own actions, they don’t give you any wriggle room for situations where you feel you simply don’t have a choice but to eat. In saying that, we ‘always’ have a choice! Sometimes it’s just harder to exercise that choice than other times, and I understand that. However, if you feel you can stay within your lifestyle regardless of the situation you are in, then by all means plan them, but I would highly recommend you try and do this when you absolutely ‘need’ to rather than when you want to. For example, if you are going out for an anniversary dinner, you don’t ‘need’ to eat OL, however if you have a sick child who has been hospitalised and your only option is the hospital cafeteria then that is a ‘need’, in my opinion.

How often can you eat outside your lifestyle choice and still be ‘living that lifestyle’? I guess it depends on the lifestyle/diet of the person, what it is they are choosing to eat outside that lifestyle and whether it has a fundamental impact of the core theory of the lifestyle. A ‘vegetarian’ who has a roast meat dinner once a month is not a ‘vegetarian’ – vegetarian’s do not eat meat, ever. However, a clean eater who may have a cupcake once a month, is still a clean eater, but a clean eater who has processed food on a daily basis is not a clean eater. If you truly feel you can control your lifestyle choice in all situations and would like to plan an outside lifestyle meal, once a month should be the maximum. give your body plenty of time to accommodate the meal, balance back out your macros, calories, etc. and this frequency shouldn’t impact negatively on your overall health, well being, and weight. That being said, we are talking about a meal, not a ‘day’ or a ‘weekend’. You will still need to maintain some level of control. It’s not permission for a complete free-for-all. Your body still has to process, the calories do still count, and you may well find if you completely over-indulge that your body will really react negatively to the situation causing you some discomfort.

Summary

Let’s stop the association with this meal being either positive or negative and accept that some times you will eat outside your lifestyle choice, and it shouldn’t even register on your good/bad, negative/positive, guilt radar. Let ‘outside lifestyle’ merely indicate that the meal included food that is not part of your usual lifestyle choice as a mere acknowledgement and nothing more.

H option 1

What is skinny love anyway??

This question was posted on Twitter earlier today when I stated that I have created a Twitter account (@skinnyloveNZ) for this blog.

So from this question

to this answer

to this response

This, is #skinnylove

I guess the idea started somewhat from Gala Darling and her Radical Self Love blogs, and then I fell in love, not only with another person, but also myself.

Skinny Love is not about loving being skinny, despite what the name might suggest! It’s far bigger than that. It’s about accepting that even the thinnest amount of love for yourself should be embraced. It’s about believing that that ‘thin end of the wedge’ actually leads to a much bigger wedge, and so it’s worth the effort to hang in there through the ‘thin’ because the ‘thick’ is coming. Now this thick is different for every person. It might be getting through a health scare, it might be paying off one more debt, it might be achieving a life goal, it might be having control of a section of your life that in the past you’ve felt was wildly out of control. It might even be accepting the fact that you have no control of things and that is actually OK.

The first line of the song goes

Come on skinny love just last the year

I think this line means the most to be because I feel like if I can hold this love for a year, I can hold it forever.

To me #skinnylove means controlling the things I can, and not stressing about the things I can’t (sounds like that AA thing but it’s a good philosophy).

Skinny Love is about believing that things will always get better, even if some times they have to get worse first.

Skinny love is about understanding that sometime shit ain’t gonna go your way – in fact it’s not going to go your way in the worst way possible! Someone I went to school with is about to lose her battle with breast cancer, yesterday a promising young man from a well respected family in our community lost his life, and there is a little girl in Starship Hospital who isn’t going to have Christmas this year.

This shit is real, this shit makes you hug your children, this shit makes you care less about bills, this shit makes you focus on what is important to YOU! These priorities are not going to be priorities of those around you and that’s ok. Don’t judge your priorities by others, their shit is different to yours!

So NO #skinnylove is not about loving being skinny. it’s about being positive. For me right now – losing weight is my #skinnylove BUT by Summer my #skinnylove is going to be about making a stronger body that will maintain it’s health. #skinnylove is about being here for my son, it’s about being fit and healthy, living a great lifestyle that I can pass  on to him. I want to be here for his important days, as well as his mediocre. When you have a child at 35, as I did, you are on the back foot when it comes to time, health, and experiences. It’s my parental obligation to be here as long as I can for him. He’s in the skinny of his life, and I want to be here for the thick!

Yes, my tweets and blogs about #skinnylove are about diet, clean eating, lifestyle changes, and eating healthily, but that’s because to me, those things are vital to ensuring our longevity. With 1 in 4 New Zealanders ‘obese’ we have a major problem in this country, so if I can help one person to choose a healthier lifestyle then that’s such a great thing. Yes, most of the #skinnylove posts are about weight loss, diet, fitness, clean eating, healthy living, etc but there’s nothing wrong with that. I know from experience that being overweight is not a happy place to be. Yes, excess weight can be a manifestation of deeper issues, but sometimes the release of some weight can make you feel good enough to seek treatment, to delve into why the weight is there in the first place, and it can empower you to keep losing, keeping finding something about yourself to love, and to keep yourself healthy.

So, wow, that is Skinny Love! I hope you understand now that’s it’s not about loving being skinny, it’s about loving the skinny because when you love in the thing, you are rewarded in the thick!